‘Nearest to a State funeral’ for Frank Owens, 99

The late Frank Owens
The late Frank Owens

Limavady experienced “the nearest thing to a State funeral” on Monday as much loved “gentleman” Frank Owens was laid to rest.

The popular publican, who turned 99 in February, sadly passed away on Friday, surrounded by loved ones.

Originally from Sixmilecross in Tyrone, and a farming background, the former Carrickmore GAA player was the oldest parishioner in Limavady.

Following news of his death, social media was flooded with tributes with many people describing Frank Owens as “a legend”.

At his funeral Mass yesterday, con-celebrated by Fr. Eddie Gallagher, Monsignor Bryan McCanny told a packed Christ the King Chapel about Frank’s integrity and his values, in both his personal life and business life, describing him as “the salt of the earth.”

Mon. McCanny told those who had come to say their last goodbyes, how Frank’s “very supportive” wife, Kathleen had encouraged her husband to take on the bar as a business on January 1st, 1960, with the words “I will be behind you.”

Mourners heard Frank Owens developed a place of business which welcomed everyone and “where everyone could feel welcome.” He said he was a man of great faith right until the very end.

“He preserved what was good in life,” said Mon. McCanny, who added, until last November, Frank wrote letters to his daughter Maura in Scotland every week.

His passion for Gaelic footbal, Tyrone winning the All Ireland in 2003 and being a part of the 1943 Carrickmore Senior Championship winning team, were all of great pride to Frank.

“Frank was still able to name the members of that team, right until the end,” said Mon. McCanny, who informed the congregation of Frank’s musical talents, having played the piano and the tin whistle and how he recently sang ‘Danny Boy’.

“While Frank just missed out on the letters from the Queen and the President of Ireland, he has more than made up for it by the nearest thing to a State funeral in Limavady,” added Mon. McCanny.

Franks Owens, husband of the late Kathleen, leaves behind his children Maura, Nuala, Garry and Damian, and was a much loved grandfather and great grandfather.

Frank was laid to rest at St. Mary’s Church Cemetery in Limavady. Those in attendance at his funeral included Canon Sam McVeigh and Rev. Brian Hassan from the Church of Ireland.